Brad Kennedy has helped propel Japanese star Ryo Ishikawa to two wins in 2019 by virtue of a putting aid he has designed; on Sunday it came back to haunt him.
Ishikawa made it a three-win year by taking out the Japan Golf Tour’s season-ending Golf Nippon Series JT Cup in Tokyo – an event reserved only for the top-30 players on the moneylist – but he had to oust Kennedy in a playoff to do so.
Tied for eighth through 54 holes in bitterly cold conditions at Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club, Kennedy was treading water for much of the front nine before catching fire after the turn, making four birdies – including three in succession from the 15th hole – to set the clubhouse mark at 8-under par.
With five birdies of his own on the back nine Ishikawa seemed destined to take the honours in regulation but a poor tee shot led to a bogey at the 72nd hole and a sudden-death showdown with Kennedy.
Ishikawa has been something of a poster boy for Kennedy’s Project OnePutt training aid since its launch earlier in the year and at the third playoff hole it cost the Aussie big time, Ishikawa becoming the youngest player to pass the ¥10 billion mark with a two-metre birdie putt to claim the ¥40 million winner’s cheque.
Kennedy’s consolation prize was a handy ¥15,000,000 (approx. $202,000) and a final position of 18th on the Order of Merit, three behind Brendan Jones who was the highest-ranked Australian in 15th after finishing tied for fourth in the final event of the year.
Japan Golf Tour
Golf Nippon Series JT Cup
Tokyo Yomiuri Country Club, Tokyo
2 Brad Kennedy 66-70-71-65—272 ¥15,000,000
T4 Brendan Jones 69-72-65-69—275 ¥5,074,093
T14 Anthony Quayle 68-68-79-65—280 ¥2,207,593
T19 Matthew Griffin 67-75-69-71—282 ¥1,713,593